Monday, 27 February 2012

Fettuccine for an (almost) spring day

Today it was a beautiful day. After a couple of weeks where the temperatures went to minus 20.C, today with it's wonderful 5.C felt like spring. We decided to go for a little walk and ended up being outside for more than an hour. It was sunny, it smelled like summer at the beach (the sea is actually around 20km away from here, but who cares), it was just a perfect (almost) spring day. So when we got home I felt the urge to make a lunch to "pair" with this day.

Pasta is perfect for every situation. So I took the recipe of a Carbonara and just made it lighter.

400g of fresh fettuccine
1 small onion finely diced
2 cloves of garlic smashed
300ml of cream (I mixed heavy cream and crème fresh)
grated ginger, black pepper, salt, mustard (1 or 2 tea spoons)
70g of grated parmesan cheese
1/5 a lemon's juice
1 egg
a handful of chopped fresh basil and lemon balm leaves

Cook the pasta, rinse it with cold water and reserve. 
In a sauce pan with bit of olive oil cook the onion until transparent. Add the garlic.
Add the cream and the seasoning and let it simmer for 5 min. Add the lemon juice.
Add the parmesan and rectify the seasoning if needed cook for 2 min. 
Add the egg and stir very gently until its completely incorporated. 
Take out of the heat (or fire if you are lucky...I'm not) and add the herbs. 
Add the sauce to the pasta and finish with some more fresh leaves. I served it with a home made kind of red pepper sweet and sour sauce. I would have liked to add some pine nuts but "someone" said he didn´t like pine nuts.

all photos by me




Eames Chairs

via Vitra

via Stylepark

These two chairs from the 50's, designed by Charles & Ray Eames ,  are my latest "I must have for my home" obsession. The DSW (dining height side chair wood) and RAR (rocking armchair rod base) are being produced in several different colours but it's the white ones I've been dreaming of. They fit perfectly in my Scandinavian (in process of furnishing) home and you can never go wrong with white.





Saturday, 25 February 2012

Saturday's Pancakes


This month we started a delicious new tradition here at home. Saturday is "pancake day". The designated cook is actually the man of the house, but I'm the one that elevates eating a pancake to a form of art. For today´s pancakes we went to the supermarket and got fresh strawberries (it´s no quite their season but I don´t care), heavy cream and maple syrup. It was the first time I tried maple syrup and I´m impressed. The thing tastes like trees! or flowers! ... in any case I´m a fan now. And with a leaf of lemon balm it´s really refreshing.

250g flour
4 eggs
1 tea spoon of sugar
1/5 tea spoon of salt
3 dl milk

Throw everything into a bowl and mix. Rests in the fridge for 30 min. 

all photos by me



Friday, 24 February 2012

Finding Inspiration and Courage

Photo styling by Irina Graewe
Photo styling by Irina Graewe
Photo styling by Irina Graewe

 
Photo styling by Irina Graewe


The absolutely gorgeous photographs above are from the interior stylist Irina Graewe. I've posted my favorites here cause I'm trying to gather enough inspiration and courage to venture myself in the completely new and unknown, to me, realm of photo styling.

I don't have a big amount of amazing "props" and background sets, but I´ll be doing some experimenting soon...


Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Red Mailboxes

A woman is sitting on a bench at the city square. She   has a cigarette in one hand, an her cell phone in the other. She´s sending a text message. The mail boxes are red, with shame. 


photo by me



Sunday, 19 February 2012

My childhood's cake

Another traditional Portuguese recipe with Marie biscuits. And another very rich desert...at least so it says my Danish boyfriend with his highly sensitive palate! Go figure. I chose to make 2 little cakes instead of a big one, but still ended up eating them both. I have to say I didn´t really mind.

This was THE children's birthday parties cake in my family. We all loved it, it´s very, oh so very, easy and quick to make (although it needs 4h in the fridge) and you can shape it as you like. My mother used to make it in a rectangular shape, more or less 6 centimetres high, and then put whatever little toys or candy we preferred on top... everything from the Smurfs to The Gummy Bears (and those were actually gummy bears for our delight). But the masterpiece involved sugar swans in a small pond of green jelly excavated in the cake, a tiny cottage made of waffle biscuits and trees made of lollipops...pure imagination!  

+- 500g of Marie biscuits (Rich tea biscuits), if you get them squared shaped instead of round it´s easier to build the cake

250g butter
200g powdered sugar
2 egg yolks

3 mugs of strong coffee with a bit of sugar

For the cream mix the butter and the sugar until it gets a creamy texture and slightly white. Add the yolks and mix it all for 5 to 7 min. 
Dip the biscuits in the coffee (warm) and set a layer on a plate/tray. Let it cool down and put a layer of cream on top of the biscuits. If the room is too warm, or the biscuits are to warm the cream will melt and make it more difficult to set the layers. Keep adding alternated layers of biscuits and cream until you have the hight and shape you wish. Remember to reserve enough cream to cover the entire cake in the end. Needs to be in the fridge for 4h for the cream to solidify. Some people sprinkle crushed biscuits on top to finish it. 

all photos by me





Thursday, 16 February 2012

My "Instas"


I´ve been seeing many posts and a lot of fuss about this INSTAGRAM thing lately. I went and did some research about it and decided to share it here. So, according to Wikipedia, it is an Apple application that, in a very easy and very simple way, allows you to apply filters to your photos, making them look all retro and vintage (quite In at the moment), and then share them in several social networks. But apparently it has become a phenomenon. Like the Polaroid or the Lomo combined with Twitter or Facebook. 

If you feel curious about it and you have an Iphone you can check out this blog with really good tips about how to create your Instagrams. If, like me, the only thing you ever asked from your phone was to make and receive calls and text messages, then you can go the hard way and still get nice results... only with a lot bit more work involved. In any case you can make really, really bad pictures look pretty awesome. And THAT is what got me really interested in this, hmm, trend. 

Let's face it, it's not always handy to carry my camera with me unless I´m going out on purpose on a "photographic expedition". And sometimes if I want to take a picture I want to take it right then. So I had been trying to take pictures with my poor excuse of a phone, cause that one is always with me no matter what. And, of course, the pictures were always very bad. But look at the example below: a crappy picture, cropped into a square (it seems that the magic only works if it is a square), an aging filter, and a black-burnished border.


The following pictures weren´t all taken with my phone, but I had lots of fun watching these results appear. To do this I used Photobucket and you can see some of my other "Instas" there. It may not be as quick to use as an app in your phone, but it´s not difficult at all, it just takes a bit more time. And if you like the results it´s well worth it.






Little squares of photographic deliciousness when they come all together like this.
all photos by me



Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Egg in Cocotte

Egg in Cocotte is a fun and colourful way to brighten your weekend's breakfast. And it´s one of those recipes where you can choose how many to make and what to use according to what you have available at the moment. You can use left overs you have already prepared or vegetables already cut in your fridge , which makes it a very easy and quick treat to make. It is just wonderfully neat and tidy, perfect to start a relaxed day.

Because this was my first experience, I made 8 different eggs, with small variations of ingredients between them to see what would work better for my palate. But next time it will be just one for me and one for my boyfriend. And to be completely honest I overcooked them. The recipe I followed (well follow is a strong word) said 20 min. at 180.C and maybe, for some specialists in eggs, that would sound like to much right from the start, but like I said, this was my first time attempting anything of the kind.

In essence you want to have:

1 tea spoon of cream or crème fresh in the bottom of the cocotte.
Some finely diced vegetables on top of the cream, asparagus and yellow pepper (previously cooked) work wonders. I also tried some pieces of bacon, it´s good but very rich.
Some sort of herb or seasoning, I used chives, curry and a red pepper "Achar" (Indian sauce, kind of sweet and sour).
Open an egg on top of the previous ingredients.
Season the eggs with salt, black pepper and grazed parmesan.

Pre-heat the oven at 180.C. Put the cocottes in a tray with boiling water up to half their hight. Cook in the oven for something like 10 min (like I said I overcooked mine so I´m cutting on the time here). You want the whites of the eggs to be hard but the yolk should be runny. Have it with croutons or small toasted pieces of bread. 

 And hey, if you feel like being a purist just forget most of the ingredients and simply have a runny egg in a pretty little pot!


all photos by me



Sunday, 12 February 2012

Peanut


I know I am too old for these things, but I´d never had snow right outside my door until last February, and at that time I was a bit "afraid" of all this cold, white stuff. So today, a typical lazy Sunday with nothing urgent to do, I decided to give it a try and build my first snowman. I had no clue on how to even start but my boyfriend agreed to endure the cold and take pictures while yelling me instructions on how to make a simple snow ball. Truth be told, after rolling and rolling, and rolling a bit more, I got so warm that the negative temperatures didn´t affect me any more. As it was my first project of a snow man I kept it simple and small... but isn´t it cute?! I call him peanut: small, roundish and cute.

I´ve been playing around with Olioboard lately, which is an easy on line tool to create moodboards, and decided to create my "Making a Snowman" moodboard. 

Snow (can´t skip this step),
Nothing to do,
Warm boots, warm gloves and a warm jacket,
Warm coffee waiting inside

Equip warm clothes, go outside and build your snowman, take pictures, run inside and drink your coffee while looking at the snowman through the window and declare that it is the cutest you´ve ever seen.




Thursday, 9 February 2012

Tomato & Curry Soup


I have an obsessive/compulsive behaviour towards a few things. One is coffee, as you may have noticed in a couple of previous posts. Another one is "The Little Prince" books... I have 7, in different languages, and every time I walk into a book shop it takes all my strength and self control not to buy another one. But just recently I discovered another one... Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese. 

I found out about this just 2 days ago. It was lunch time and I got home from language school, completely frozen because there were -8. C outside. Turned on my computer and started browsing Pinterest as per usual. Then I noticed that for the 3rd time I was pinning a picture of tomato soup, and that was at least the 100th time I was drooling over a picture of it. 

As I normally do with my little obsessions I decided to completely surrender and for the first time in my life...oh yes...I made my own Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese. Can´t really say I have a recipe for it because it was like I was being possessed by the spirit of all the recipes I read so far, and kept throwing things in the pot. But at the last minute I decided to add a pinch of curry and I definitely don´t regret it! 

(for 2 bowls)
Olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
cherry tomatoes (a small pack, cut them in half and smash them into the pot)
1/3 green pepper chopped
1 1/2 cup (300 ml) of chicken broth
1 table spoon of ketchup
1 table spoon of sweet chilli
1 table spoon of sugar
a pinch of curry (quantity depends on how brave you feel)

All cooked for 15 min and passed through a strainer in the end. Fresh basil leaves to finish.

all photos by me





Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Invisible Shelf

all photos by me

I just discovered this wonderful solution, for the tiny space between my bed and the wall, from Umbra.
For months I´ve been suffering with the lack of a bedside table, not having a place to put the little "stuff" I need during the night and thus ending up with the floor serving that function. Now my world has found balance once again. It´s practical and beautiful and it´s made of books! Can´t really ask for more.

I ordered mine from this Danish webshop AREAstore.



Sunday, 5 February 2012

Nespresso

all photos by me

My new, gorgeous, sexy coffee machine.  I don´t like doing advertising for free but the Nespresso coffee just makes my life...better. It´s the perfect gift for both me as a coffee addict and my home as an element of decoration.

For someone that doesn´t wake up before having coffee it can be a real problem having to actually make the coffee in the most traditional ways. So it´s no wonder I love this machine where the only thing required is to chose a capsule and click 2 buttons. Plus the machines are beautifully designed and the coffee is just wonderful...and it comes in pretty, little, colourful containers. 

This cold, snowy February days will be much more cosy with the company of a nice and warm cup  between my hands and the delightful smell of coffee. 




Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Snow

I came back from a short vacation on Madeira island and this is what I find...

all photos by me


Gorgeous but bloody cold!
Need to work on a strategy to take pictures without freezing my fingers up to a point of excruciating pain though.


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